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Relish-A curated list of the best of gluten-free in July 2013

Relish 07: A midsummer night’s dream

Relish-A curated list of the best of gluten-free in July 2013Conferences, schmoferences

Boy, oh boy, oh boy. I have been conferencing it up this summer. So far there has been BlogHer Food in Austin, WordCamp in Chicago and BlogHer 13 in Chicago and in just a couple of weeks I am going to Weapons of Mass Creation in Cleveland. I was able to eat safely at two of the three I have attended so far (can you believe that WordCamp had gluten-free cupcakes? From a bakery celiac friends trust? I was so excited I nearly cried – but don’t tell the nerds that…). WMCFest doesn’t provide food, so I am going to go armed with an arsenal of snacks. Maybe some of the new grown up items from Happy Family…

But let’s talk.

Can I just tell you that you are an amazing community? You all helped fund Erica from Celiac and the Beast‘s kickstarter campaign for her new book. Y’all are super cool like that. And the words of support when April, Erica and I were all handed death on a plate at a conference last weekend was nothing less than swell. I’m glad you all want me to live and the intestines of my gals to stay in tact.

But, you had to know there was going to be a but, can I ask that we all get a little less militant about food? There is a lot of vitriol surrounding the new Pilsbury products and the possibility of a GF Twinkie. Well, I know these things aren’t healthy. And neither are the cookies that I make. Sometimes you just need to be normal and eat refrigerated cookie dough from a tub after drama with some boy who said he’d call and then never did. I think these items might just be the key to moving on just a smidge faster.

Delicious eats.

I love food. And in the summer, when fresh fruit and vegetables are everywhere, food is even better. Here are a few of my favorites from this month.

Relish - Curated Gluten Free Recipes - July 2013

It is no secret that I don’t like beets. But everyone I know does, and frankly, they are so dang beautiful. So, try these Sauteed Beet Greens and Spring Onions (01) from Farm Fresh Eats. Some days I feel like moving to the country and eating a lot of peaches…(pardon the terrible music joke). These Moscato Honey Vanilla Poached Peaches (02)from Busy in Brooklyn look like they are made to inspire cheesy pop music (and I mean that in a good way). I continue my love affair with the food from The Tomato Tart’s kitchen with this delightful Gluten-Free Grilled Cheese with Spicy Berry Chutney (03). One day I am going to just show up at her house and demand dinner (I’ll do the dishes!). And last, but not least, these Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes with Fontina and Thyme (04) from Healthy Green Kitchen look like all my summer fantasies.

Little Treats

This month there are no shoes or fun new lip glosses, but there are some pretty nifty other things. Like books. Lots of books.

Relish - Curated Gluten Free Luxuries - July 2013

I loved this book before BlogHer, but after meeting Sheryl Sandberg and hearing her speak, I think everyone with a vagina should read her book, Lean In (01). And so should everyone who knows someone with one. I am currently working my way through Stephen King’s On Writing (02), and I think that if you write, you should probably read it too. I also just started The Ocean at the End of the Lane (03) and I am hooked. Lastly, I just read a piece on the New York Times about the Jerusalem (04) cookbook from Yotam Ottolenghi (author of Plenty), and realized that not only had I not cooked from it, but that I didn’t have it. Don’t worry, I am remedying that situation ASAP.

Coming up

Next month has more travel, a lot of birthday baking and lots more blog posts! But, while you’re here, take a moment to check out my new blog/design project and maybe (just maybe) like it on Facebook? It is a series of inspirational quotes designed to look pretty nifty (since I am a designer in my other life…) Like the one below:

Chronic Positivity 26: Little by little a little becomes a lot. - Tanzanian Proverb

relish - july 2013 boys 'n berries

Relish 06: Boys ‘n Berries

Relish is a compendium of things to enjoy greatly and that add a little flavor to your gluten-free life. Because really, summer is all about the berries (and the boys).

relish - july 2013 boys 'n berries

So, I’m an old lady now.

Two weeks ago, I turned 29. It was a celebration to remember – all my friends made it out for the night. For my birthday, I treated myself to a trip to BlogHer Food in Austin. I even got to spend an evening in Millenium Park with friends listening to music. And because that wasn’t enough, I hosted the Great Big Gluten-Free BBQ and went to WordCamp (a WordPress conference for work).

But let’s talk.

There were some epic things that happened online in the gluten-free community. First, if you didn’t read this incredibly honest and heartfelt post by KC from GFree Foodie, go read it right now. And if you haven’t supported the kickstarter from Erica at Celiac and the Beast, you should do that. (The rewards include that awesomely designed swag from her blog)

Delicious eats.

There were so many incredible things shared to make this month, I chose a few of my favorite gluten-free summer options. (And some boy bait…)

relish - four things i want to make

This recipe is called Blueberry Boy Bait (01) from Alison at A Girl Defloured. I wonder if it actually works? And how about some Mango Coconut Popsicles (02) from Sarah Bakes Gfree Treats? These are perfect for hot summer days. I am going camping this week (yikes!), but these s’mores in a jar with bourbon marshmallows (03) from Sabrina at The Tomato Tart make me a little more excited about the food potential. And this incredible Icy Cold Mocha Chocolate Gelato (04) from Jane at the Heritage Cook will be making its way into my summer cooking rotation.

Other lovely things.

relish - four gluten-free things I loveThis casserole dish (01) from the Feed line at Target are both stylish and money for a good cause – you win twice! I know I mentioned it last month, but I am so excited about the new box club from Gfree Foodie (02). Go sign up now! Sometimes, fancy lipstick is a luxury we can’t justify, so this new lip balm from Almay (03) is both gluten-free and affordable. Taylor, the teen behind the blog Gluten Away has released a set of cards for diners (04) will all sorts of special diets. Go check them out!

What’s next?

Next month, I am going to meet some food blogging friends at BlogHer ’13 here in Chicago, so if you are going to be in attendance, make sure that you let me know that you will be there! I am also planning trips to some expos and conferences this fall, so keep your eyes on my list of events!

gluten free chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream for the Great big Gluten Free Barbecue

Great Big Gluten-Free Barbecue

I love summer, and all it entails. Festivals. Evening concerts with friends. Barbecues every weekend.

I really love a good barbecue. The friends, the food, maybe a cold gluten-free beer or a margarita.

gluten free chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream for the Great big Gluten Free Barbecue

But the part I love the most? That they are special even when they are last minute. They can be fancy affairs with sandals and dresses. They can be celebrations for just making it through the week. Or they can be celebrations of great love.

vow renewal

Just last week I invited the whole dang family over to celebrate my parents and godparents 35th wedding anniversary. And we had a barbecue. Complete with potato salad, jicama salad and a grape salad. There was meat on the grill and several types of sangria. The whole thing was gluten-free. And it was a dang good cookout. People were just there, celebrating and relaxing. Being family and enjoying some good food.

I want everyone to be able to have a cookout like that, for any occasion.

So, I gathered some blogger friends and planned a virtual barbecue.

There are main dishes, desserts and even some sangria. I brought some gluten-free vanilla on chocolate cupcakes. My friends brought the rest, and we wanted to invite you to the party.

Thanks for dropping in!


Pam from I’m A Celiac made Slow Cooker Pork BBQ
Taylor from Gluten-Away made Gluten-Free BBQ Burgers
Cindy from Vegetarian Mamma made Eggy Potato Salad
Cara from Cara’s Cravings made Fudgesicles (recipe review from the Great Vegan Bean Book)
Betsy from Gluten Free Betsy made Old School Potato Salad
Melissa from Stockpiling Moms made GF Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Alissa from Breaking Up with Captain Crunch made GF Pasta Salad  and DIY Sorta Sangria
Iris from The Daily Dietribe made Coleslaw
Alison from A Girl Defloured made Strawberry Basil Paletas
Mel from GeekilyGF made Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwiches
Erica from Celiac and the Beast dishes barbecue survival advice with Don’t Burn Bridges Or The Burger: Gluten Free BBQ

gluten free chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream

Gluten-Free Vanilla on Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Serves: 24
The cake recipe is adapted from The Cake Bible – a book every baker should own.
  • For the cupcakes
  • 85 grams (3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups (354 mL) boiling water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 300 grams (2 cups + 1T) gluten-free all purpose flour*
  • 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum**
  • 434 grams (2 cups firmly packed) light brown sugar
  • 11 grams (2 1/4 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 4 grams (3/4 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 5 grams (1/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 237 grams (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • For the Frosting
  • 2 sticks (225 grams) butter, softened
  • 675-900 grams (6-8 cups) confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup (118 mls) milk
  • pinch of salt
  • food coloring
  1. Whisk together the boiling water and cocoa until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, the vanilla and 1/4 of the cocoa mixture.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the dry ingredients and mix for 30 seconds – just long enough to create a uniform mixture.
  5. Add the butter and remaining cocoa mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix on low until the dry goods are moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides.
  6. Add the egg mixture in 3 parts, mixing for 30 seconds on medium after each addition and scraping down the sides.
  7. Fill the cupcake tins 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cakes are done when they bounce back after being tapped gently with a finger or a tester comes out clean.
  8. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter, 450 grams (4 cups) of the sugar, the milk and the vanilla.
  9. Beat on medium for 3-5 minutes.
  10. Gradually add the remaining sugar 1 cup (115 grams) at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition.
  11. When the frosting is firm enough to pipe, stop adding sugar and add the salt and color. If the frosting is not pipable with all the sugar, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes – it means your butter was a little too soft.
  12. Pipe a generous amount of frosting on each cupcake when they are completely cool.
*This recipe was tested using Cup4Cup Gluten-Free all purpose flour, but will work with your preferred blend as long as you measure by weight. **Omit if using a blend that already includes xantham gum.


Relish - a list of gluten-free things from April 2013

Relish 04: Ramp it up

Relish - a list of gluten-free things from April 2013

Good bye April!

You might have noticed that I wrote 36 posts in April. Thirty of them were for the Health Activist Writers Month Challenge. Let me tell you, I am certainly ready for a cookie or two. And maybe a cocktail. (My friend Alison is curating a pretty impressive list of cocktails … you should go try a few, I know I am!).

For me, April was a little crazy, and I am not referring to the crazy number of blog posts. There was a little something about spine surgery in the middle. A design conference that needed attending. And a bowling outing for charity.

I also finally booked my hotel for BlogHer Food in Austin. I decided to stay at the Extended Stay America so I would have my own little kitchen and a guarantee of a safe meal if I need to cook one for myself. If you are going, you need to let me know so we can meet up and become best friends forever. (But the title of GFBBFF, that is Gluten-Free Blogger Best Friend Forever, is already taken, so we’ll have to come up with a special one for you too.)


And there is something I definitely don’t want you to miss: the infographic about Celiac Disease that Gluten Dude created last week. Celiac Awareness Month is upon us, and this infographic contains lots of great information. Please share it! (He even has it set up so you can embed it in your blog!)

Let’s talk about some food

I’ve been missing cooking. Something about not being allowed to bend and lift makes it a bit difficult to do. Boo to that. But, I did find some mighty awesome things to make from some of the best people on the internet. Sadly, although it is ramp season (this month’s title was totally referring to them because I am clever like that), none of these include them.

First, my friend Alison has been a busy bee, and she made these amazing(01) Gluten-Free Muesli Breakfast Cookes. Cookies + breakfast = awesome. Then Cindy at Vegetarian Mamma made (02) Gluten-Free & Vegan Onion Rings. A lady after my own heart. More breakfast items from the lovely folks at Cup4Cup. They shared (03) Gluten-Free Chewy Granola Bars on their Facebook page. And last, but definitely not least, Tracy at Shutterbean shared an amazing (04) Honey Orange Ginger Ale recipe. I wonder if it goes well with bourbon…

Some other lovely things

Ok, sometimes I spoil myself, but that’s ok. We all deserve a little bit of indulging.

A friend of mine recently started selling Stella and Dot (this is a link to her page), and even though I had no intention of ordering, their (01) Alexandria necklace caught my eye, and my incapacitated self decided I needed a present. My (02) Zoku Slushie Maker made me feel like a kid again and brightened up my days this month in ways Real Housewives marathons never can. This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the gorgeous new cookbook from Shauna and Daniel Ahern (Gluten-Free Girl & the Chef),(03) Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. And yes, another pair of shoes. Did you expect anything less? I am supposed to take it easy for a few months, so I thought I needed more fun flats. These (04) brightly colored shoes from Two Lips fit the bill perfectly.

What’s next?

Well, May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, so look for posts and tweets with information about gluten-free living, celiac disease and gluten-intolerance from all of your favorite bloggers.

I will be finishing up the Snack It To Me series, I have reviews of two gluten-free pizza crusts and a review (and recipe from the lovely cupcake wars champion, yra Bussanich, herself) of the new Crave Bakeshop mixes.

Hooray for May!

Relish 03: March 2013

Relish 03: Put a little spring in your step

Relish is a compendium of things to enjoy greatly and that add a little flavor to your gluten-free life. Because really, life is all about the awesome sauce.

Relish 03: March 2013

March is the bringer of spring, even if that spring starts out with near-freezing temperatures and some snow. This month I was incredibly lucky yet again. I had gluten-free pancakes at Little Goat made by Stephanie Izard herself and I learned how to make a killer guacamole from Rick Bayless. I even crossed macarons off of my culinary bucket list.

But as wonderful as my month was, a fellow blogger got hit by the food elitists and took on adult food bullies (part 2).

Four Gluten-Free Recipes

This month, like every month, the internet was filled with delicious new recipes that I can’t wait to make. You might know that I am obsessed with Chunky Monkey Ice Cream…and this(01) Chunky Monkey Banana Ring Cake from Silvana Nardone looks like heaven. To health things up a bit, might I suggest these (02) Quinoa Pizza Bites from Gfree Laura. Uh, super yum! Movie nights will never be the same now that I have a recipe for  (03) Garlicky Lime Popcorn from Spiced Curiosity. But I think this month, this (04) Warm Almond Quinoa Breakfast Sundae from The Healthy Apple takes the cake. It feels almost as indulgent as the frozen custard my Papa used to give my sister and I for breakfast when we were kids.



Now that we are well fed, let’s treat ourselves. You might already know that I am a lipstick junkie and that I will try out just about any lip product that comes my way. Well, I found this (01) lip scrub from local gal (well, she grew up in Aurora) Sara Happ. After months of searching, I finally found (02) perfect black flats. They are lined in suede and the leather feels like butter. (03) My “Make Cupcakes Not War” tshirt is one of my favorite designs from tshirt designer extraordinaire Johnny Cupcakes. To go on your newly smooth lips, (04) Hot Mess lipgloss from Red Apple Lipstick might be my unexpected favorite makeup purchase so far in 2013.

In April, the Ratio Rally is back! You can also follow along as I challenge myself to write a post each day for the Wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge.

Relish 02: For the love of…life

Relish is a compendium of things to enjoy greatly and that add a little flavor to your gluten-free life. Because really, life is all about the awesome sauce.


February is the month of love, and even without a gentleman caller in my life, I got to spend it in style. (In case you missed it, I went to San Francisco and ate at The French Laundry and spilled the beans on their gluten-free brioche). Erica, Charissa and Alison also wrote about our visit to the San Fran. (On an unrelated note, the power point that I made for the presentation is available to download)

Speaking of the month of love, Gluten Dude started a series of Gluten-Free Love Stories. There are some truly awesome stories. Read them. Be jealous of how lucky they are.


This month, the internet was filled with delicious new recipes that I can’t wait to make. Like this incredible (01) Roasted Carrot & Quinoa Salad from A Girl Defloured. Since that is a little healthier than my fruity pebbles filled diet allows for, I think I should make up for it with (02) a Chocolate Raspberry Tart from With Style & Grace. Weekend mornings can be perked up with these (03) single-serving buckwheat waffels from Oh, Ladycakes. And we can wrap it up with another recipe featuring my favorite childhood vegetable (04) Ginger & Tamarind Glazed Carrots from The Tomato Tart.

Erica wrote a post about being human, getting glutened and powering through. I wrote a post in reaction to a comment from a friend that turned into a peptalk that I needed. There was anger over a NickJr. skit. Joy the Baker wrote some sound advice on blogging. This month was pretty epic, a certain Sassy Celiac even made a music video.

February was pretty great. But just you wait – next month I am going to start contributing to a new site, will have a new ebook out and frannycakes will be 2 years old!

Were there any gluten-free highlights that I missed?